Bulloch County Schools Superintendent asks DPH to revise order regarding quarantine protocols

Education

BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) -Bulloch County Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson sent a request to Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), asking for a revision of the DPH’s Administrative Order regarding how students are quarantined.

In Wilson’s request, the superintendent asked for a revision “to include language that allows PK-12 students in the state ‘who are wearing a mask at the time of close contact in a school setting with a COVID-19-positive individual, and who then continue to wear a mask when not able to maintain a six-foot distance from others, and who also remain asymptomatic during the typically designated quarantine period, be allowed to remain in school for the sake of their academic, extracurricular, and social-emotional wellbeing’.”

Wilson expressed a frustration that the Administrative Order does not ensure respect for parent choice, nor is it enforced equally and appropriately across the state.

Read Wilson’s request HERE.

On October 8, the Board unanimously approved a motion to “reconsider the Department of Public Health guidelines, and if a student is exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, if the student that is exposed is wearing a mask, and it has been documented, they do not have to follow those guidelines of quarantining for 14 days.”

The action went into effect at schools on October 9. 

According to the district, for students who were exposed to a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, a parent could choose if the student would quarantine at home for 14 days or be permitted to remain at school.

The district would allow the student to remain at school if the student was wearing a mask at the time of exposure; the student is and remains asymptomatic; the student would continue to wear a mask at school; the parent would conduct Bulloch County Schools’ self-health check daily with the student; and  the student would not come to school if sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.   

Tuesday Bulloch County Schools announced changes to the district’s quarantine protocols had been suspended.

The suspension was made after the Board of Education received a a letter with the request to do so from DPH.

In that letter Dr. Toomey said, “this action is out of compliance with guidance issued from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health, as well as the legal requirements within the DPS’s Administrative Order issued on July 28, 2020.”

The district says the suspension is pending further discussion by the full Board at its October 22 work session.

Read the DPH’s letter to Bulloch Co. Schools HERE.

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